Jul 26, 2010 - 5:10 AM
Hello Maribel. Yes, there's a difference between the Bernina Express and the Bernina Unesco Pass. The Bernina Express is the special panoramic train running from St. Moritz in the Engadine to Tirano in Italy. The Bernina pass is the actual pass along Lago Bianco ('the White Lake'). The entire route, including the connecting route further to the north in the direction of Chur, is part of a (protected) UNESCO world heritage. You may also refer to a special package issued by the local railway company, the Rhätische Bahn (Rhb). Under the name of Rhb Unesco World Heritage Pass, several travel packages are available for unlimited travel on all trains between Thusis and Tirano during a couple of days (except for the special panoramic Bernina Express trains, but regular trains cross the route over the Bernina Pass as well). Please read further details on the Rhb Unesco World Heritage Pass to see if such a package is suitable for you. It may not be if have a Swiss rail pass (such as the Swiss Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card referred to in my previous post), as this grants reduced or free travel on the Bernina route as well.
If you cross the Bernina pass with a regular train, you can get out and hop on another train without any problems. If you want to travel in a panoramic Bernina Express train, you have to arrange for seat reservations, so you'll have to stick to your seats in that case. But you can also reserve seats per section in different trains (although only a few Bernina Express trains leave per day). This does require you to plan your trip, including your stop-overs, in advance. Trips can be planned trough the timetable. The icons and further details given with each connection will show you whether a regular train or a Bernina Express train is involved. The Bernina Express timetable may also come in handy for you.
As for which route you should choose for the trip back from Malpensa Airport: both alternatives I mentioned in my previous post are beautiful. You can check the links I gave to get an impression of the landscape you'll cross. The bus route through Chiavenna and the Bergell valley has a more mediterranean, Italian-like atmosphere. The train and bus ride via Bellinzona and Thusis will cross diverse landscapes and will get you to the famous Landwasser viaduct (you actually shouldn't miss out on this experience if you're heading for, or getting back from, the Engadine). You may find the route through Bellinzona and Thusis more comfortable, as you can switch from bus to train and don't have to travel by bus only for quite some hours. Is it an option for you to travel from Milan to Celerina the one way and back from Celerina to Milan the other way? Then you'd be able to experience both rides.
Last modified on Jan 27, 2020 - 11:14 AM by Arno